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School of Medicine

Rural Libraries and Health Innovations Cooperative Agreement Program

This program is inspired by and seeks to build upon the work already conducted in South Carolina by library systems including the Union County Library System and Richland Library. This funding will support innovative pilot projects and/or programs that test alternative models of community care and healthcare engagement via a library system. These projects would utilize the local library system as a means of community engagement; connect community members with healthcare resources, either by direct provision or referral; provide care management and connections to available social services; monitor ongoing needs of the community to identify methods, programs, and services to meet those needs.

Program Overview

The Rural Libraries and Health Innovations Cooperative Agreement Program is interested in programs that will identify innovative solutions or best practices that are effective, can be adopted by other rural libraries, expanded into a larger context, and informs public policy. We encourage the submission of a diverse group of proposals to enhance health in rural communities, including but not limited to topics related toinfectious disease, maternity care, and mental health. Projects should align with the South Carolina’s Rural Health Action Plan. Outcomes and measures should be easily measurable and follow the S.M.A.R.T format.

These pilot projects should include the following elements:

  • Located in, and serve, a rural population  
  • Primary point of service at the local library or library system 
  • Description of needs in the community that will be addressed by the project (e.g. needs assessment or similar) 
  • Must demonstrate clear and established partnerships with at least 1 local healthcare organization or provider.  
  • Clear and direct connection between program activities and health care delivery 
  • Collaboration and coordination of other healthcare and community programs that improve health, access, delivery, or outcomes 
  • Assessment of services, programs, and outcomes to demonstrate improved healthcare delivery and/or outcomes for their residents 

These projects can be innovative in nature, and be designed to fit the local environment, needs, and resources. Optional components may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Library social work programs 
  • Community Health Workers based at a library 
  • Improving access to or the delivery of healthcare services through connections to other libraries or organizations 
  • Connections to Telehealth modalities 
  • Partnering with other community organizations to share resources (please include letters of support showing a history of collaboration or commitment to developing a new collaboration as part of this initiative). 

It is preferred that the primary grantee is a library system. Rural health network, healthcare systems and other 501(c)3 organizations located in South Carolina and primarily serving rural areas (as determined by the Am I Rural Tool: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/am-i-rural) are also eligible.*

*Note: If the applicant is not a library or library system, a clear and strong connection with the library must be demonstrated through a history of partnership. Letters of support and commitment or copies of MOAs already in place may be requested during the review process.

The application is a two-step process. The first step is an online application to ensure eligibility and that objectives and activities would align with SCCRPH’s mission and guidelines. SCCRPH leadership and staff will review the applications and select applicants to engage in collaborative discussions to determine the program elements, activities, and outcomes. This second phase will inform the final funding decisions.

Up to four (4) awards of $100,000 for one (1) year, with the potential for renewal for a total of $300,000 over a three (3) year period dependent on continued availability of funds.

We aim to fund programs that utilize innovative solutions or best practices to improve health access and/or health outcomes for rural communities, patients, or populations. We fund direct costs only.

  • Projects centered on one-touch events (health fairs, conferences, etc.) 
  • Programs or activities that target any non-rural populations 
  • Capital funds or funds for facilities or equipment 
  • Salaries for personnel not directly involved with the project  

As a partner in a cooperative agreement with the SCCRPH, successful applicants will be expected to work in collaboration with the SCCRPH to refine program plans. Program plans will be flexible to meet the needs of the awardees as they become apparent and/or are affected by the COVID pandemic or other contextual factors. Awardees should plan at a minimum providing a mid-year and final reports and participation in a one-day awardee meeting in February/March 2021. If possible, the meeting will be held in Columbia, SC. At least one representative must attend the meeting. Travel from outside of the immediate Columbia area will be covered by SCCRPH and does not need to be included in a travel budget.

SCCRPH will provide technical and facilitative support as applicable, including but not limited to evaluation, data analysis, and connections with other programs as can benefit the awardee.

July 20, 2020 
Online application available via link or sc.edu/ruralhealthcare

July 31, 2020 at 1:00 p.m. 
SCCRPH call with interested applicants. Contact us at RuralInnovations@uscmed.sc.edu for call information. Please note that we may be contacted at any time at RuralInnovations@uscmed.sc.edu with questions regarding this RFA.

August 14, 2020 
Online application due by 5:00 p.m.

August – September 2020 
Communication with applicants to discuss further information needs, program planning for cooperative agreement, or notice of declined funding.

October 5, 2020 
Earliest anticipated project start date.



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